Sprague, William B. Glorifying God in the Fires, 1861 Union Civil War Sermon
Sprague, William B. Glorifying God in the Fires, 1861 Union Civil War Sermon

Sprague, William B. Glorifying God in the Fires, 1861 Union Civil War Sermon

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Sprague, William B. Glorifying God in the Fires; A Discourse delivered in the Second Presbyterian Church, Albany, November 28, 1861, the Day of the Annual Thanksgiving, in the State of New York. Albany: Printed by C. Van Benthuysen, 1861. First Edition. [6145]

Green printed wrappers, 5 3/4 x 9 inches, 58 clean pp., a little edge-wear to the wrappers, unsigned gift inscription by Sprague on verso of front. Good. Pamphlet.

Dedicated to "Major General McClellan, Commander in Chief of the Army of the United Sates...with profound Admiration for the unsurpassed Ability and Heroic Devotion to the Interests of his Country, with which he is conducting the Grandest Military Enterprise of the Age."

The text is Isaiah 24:15, "Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires." By fires, Sprague takes it to mean troubles, and he sets out to tell his hearers how to glorify God in what was the first year of the American Civil War. He extols patriotism, voluntary enlistment, martyrs of the Union cause, and makes examples both of heroic Union leaders and of mad, deranged Southern ones. The rebellion is the workings of an extended popular delusion and illustrates the boundless capabilities of human depravity. He says that the Union will prevail, and gives examples of God's providence in their behalf.

"You will remember, too, how nobly Maryland - to say nothing of Kentucky - has already been saved to the Union; and that because the brave and patriotic Dix knew how to strangle Treason as well as to direct the use of artillery. You will think how manfully Western Virginia has withstood the storm that was pelting her, declaring her allegiance to the Nation at the expense of dissolving her connection with the State; and now we have tidings that some of the Eastern counties, upon which the light of the admirable Proclamation from Fort McHenry has fallen, are moving in the same track. You will think of the victory at Hatteras Inlet, by which a ball was set in motion, that has rolled so fast and so far already, that the Stars and Stripes are floating over large portions of North Carolina..."

William Buell Sprague (1795-1876), born in Andover, Connecticut; graduated at Yale in 1815, and afterwards studied at Princeton for two years. He was ordained in the Congregational Church at West Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1819 and was pastor there for ten years. In 1829 he accepted a call to the Second Presbyterian Church in Albany and served in that congregation as pastor for forty years. “He has been well and truly described as an ‘illustrious man; a cultivated, elegant, voluminous, useful and popular preacher; an indefatigable and successful pastor; an unselfish and devoted friend; loving, genial, pure, and noble; an Israelite, indeed, in whom there was no guile; one of the most childlike, unsophisticated, and charitable of men.’ While he never relaxed his pulpit and pastoral duties, his added literary labors were prodigious, and their fruits exceedingly great.” – M’Clintock & Strong.